Opportunities for Outdoor Education in Education Reform

Dr Loren Miller2
1Outward Bound, Tharwa, Australia; 2Being Education, Abbotsford, Australia


The time is ripe for outdoor education to make an impact on the changing future of school education. There is a now an active global movement for education reform – seeking to evolve schools beyond the industrial model to incorporate a focus on developing the ‘whole child’, or human characteristics often coined within the concept of 21st Century skills and capabilities. From a school system perspective, there are significant barriers to change in Australia. However, innovation is occurring in pockets throughout schools – with a number of trends evident. Many of these trends – student agency, 21stC character building, well-being, inquiry based learning and problem solving – call on experiential learning theories and practices that are familiar to outdoor education. Within this changing education landscape, outdoor educators have an opportunity to position their programs as a pathway to address future learning needs – with the potential to take outdoor education from the outskirts to the heart of curriculum. There is also an opportunity for outdoor education professionals to draw on their unique skills and experience to play a leadership role in contributing to the innovation agenda.

This session will explore:
• What is happening in education reform – globally and in Australia?
• What innovation trends are emerging in schools?
• How does this align with opportunities for outdoor education?
• How can outdoor educators leverage their expertise to play a part in shaping the future of education?

Loren has returned to outdoor education as Deputy Chair of Outward Bound, 30 years after being an instructor and early career positions with OEG and managing Sport and Recreation Victoria’s camps. Passionate about the future of education, Loren co-founded ‘Being Education’ with Associate Professor John Quay, working to promote new models for school education that focus on student engagement and development of 21st Century skills and capabilities. This endeavour capstones 15 years in executive roles in strategy, finance and governance in higher education, with Melbourne, Monash and RMIT universities. Loren also worked as a management consultant with the global Boston Consulting Group and boutique firm SPP. Loren is able to bring a unique perspective to outdoor education – strategizing its future, as concepts of what young people need from education evolves in a rapidly changing world.

Having lived the ethos of lifelong learning, Loren studies have qualified her as a teacher, accountant, board member and consultant. Her qualifications include a Doctorate of Education, MBA, Graduate Certificate in Public Policy, Graduate Diploma of Education, Bachelor of Science, and CPA and AICD professional programs.

Loren is married to John Quay and has two grown children Patrick and Leah. They enjoy family time skiing, cycling, brunching and playing games.

About OEA and Outdoors NSW

Outdoor Education Australia (OEA)  was established in 2006 as a national network of outdoor education associations. The organisation facilitates communication between state and territory outdoor education associations about the practice and delivery of outdoor education; advocates for outdoor education across primary, secondary and tertiary education; and provides policy advice.

Outdoors NSW is the go-to place for all things outdoors in NSW.

The peak body for the outdoors in NSW, the organisation, (formerly known as ORIC), represents the outdoor community, advances outdoor standards, safety and practices, and fosters greater participation in the outdoors.

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